Friday, July 31, 2009

July Wrap Up

July was crazy expensive.

I am NOT happy to report the following...

Coffee - $144.61 (increase of $92.61 from last month)
Eating Out - $100.65 (increase of $24.10 over last month)
Groceries - $524.57 ($174.57 over our budget (include camping food)and $268.57 more than last month)
Gas - $210.18 ($35.18 over but we went camping and did a little more than normal driving this month)

We planned to put a TON in savings and that just did not happen.

Savings - $465.85 ($55.85 more than last month but $634.15 less than planned)

I don't know what it is about camping. It seems like such a low key inexpensive way to vacation with friends. Here is the breakdown...

Groceries $125.51
Liquor Store $20.95 (the hubs needed to stockpile his rum before the trip)
Gas $30.68
Three Nights Camping $75
Total $252.14

Coming up in August we need to buckle down and get back within our budget not to mention stick to a healthier eating routine.
  • Pay off personal loan
  • Pay off six credit cards
  • Save $525
  • Birthday Gifts for niece, nephew and my mom
  • Concert tickets to Diana Krall at the winery (for my birthday)
  • Get hubs BMW diagnosed
  • Track in food journal

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Its Just Hot

It hit over 100 degrees today in Seattle. We here are not used to these soaring temperatures. Cloud cover and thunder storms are our usual repertoire. Cooling stations have been set up around the city. Air conditioned places like movie houses, malls and hotels are making a killing. You can't buy a fan or portable AC unit to save your life.

We have been managing pretty well here at chez paisley penguin. A constant temperature of 77 degrees has been achieved with two fans going non stop since Sunday night. Our neighbor leaves her dog at our place during the day so they can stay as cool as possible.

I suppose if we get desperate we can always build a homemade swamp cooler!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

38 Candles

Today is my birthday. I am 38. I don't feel 38.

I know people have resolutions at the New Year and I do that. But, every year on my birthday I resolve to change some things. Sometimes they are just reminders or re-dedications of what I resolved to do in January.

Honestly, I would like a Mulligan but since that is not possible until someone actually discovers the space/time continuum then I will have to resolve to do things the old fashioned way.

  1. Career change. I don't what all will be involved, higher education, just jumping in with both feet - maybe winning the lottery?
  2. Consumer debt free. We have a plan in place and we are working our plan.

  3. Better health. Back to eating better and exercising.
  4. Quality time. I love you all out in bloggerville but I need to spend quality time with the hubs.

Happy birthday to me!

Friday, July 24, 2009

My birthday is next week and I have been trying to think of a how I want to celebrate. There is a local winery that has concerts in the summer time. My absolute favorite jazz singer will be performing there next month and I desperately want to go.

I'm totally down with the general admission price of $49.50 per person. General admission means you sit towards the back and you bring your own chair or a blanket to sit on. However, you can bring a picnic meal. The only condition is you can't bring in your own alcohol but have to buy it on site.

How perfect of a Saturday night with the hubs would it be to sit out under the stars, listening to Diana Krall with a yummy picnic spread and a bottle of red wine? Perfecto!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


In an effort to save on our monthly expenses the hubs and I canceled our extended cable a little over a month ago. Honestly, I have not missed it much - until last week. There is this show I love called Leverage on TNT. Season two started last week. We no longer get the channel its on. I was fine just waiting until I could get it through Netflix.

I had heard people talking about Hulu and decided to check it out. I can watch episodes of TV shows from channels I don't get anymore. In the case of Leverage I clicked on the link to the TNT website, downloaded their plug in and was able to bring it up full screen on my computer monitor. Until our laptop is up and running I am going to invest in a cord that will allow me to stream from my computer to my TV to watch the TV shows I like.

It really is not that inconvenient to watch TV this way. In fact, since I can watch the episode any time. I don't have to worry about my schedule if I had TNT and made certain that I was home at 9 PM Wednesday nights to catch it. Not certain how long the episodes stay on or if its commercial free. There is another new show I wanted to watch called Royal Pains and I can only view episodes 3 - 6 on Hulu. Still, beggars can't be choosers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Networth IQ

I found out something interesting about Networth IQ. If you post your net worth on your side bar you have to make your Networth IQ public. If you google yourself you can actually find your net worth. I personally do not want my in laws and my employer googling me and finding out that information.

I honestly don't mind sharing the ins and outs and ups and downs of my personal finance here on this blog. Its part of what keeps me on track with my goals. The people I know IRL that read my blog I don't mind if they know what I am posting. Granted there are a small few people that I have actually given my blog address to.

So, without further adeu - here are the down and dirty numbers of the hubs and I collective net worth. Make sure you sit down - its a bit scarey.

Credit Card Debt - $11,349.49
Consumer Loan Debt - $14,049.69
Car Loan Debt - $5,815.09
Student Loan Debt - $4,484.70
Total Debt - $35,698.97

Hubs Retirement - $14,522.77
My Retirement - $986.63 (epic failure)
BMW - $1935.00
Total Assets - $17,444.40

Net Worth - ($18,254.57)

This is not including our home. If you add that to the equation our net worth is ($161,254.57). Not a good place to be. Can you see how pathetic my retirement portfolio is? I was the one that pushed the hubs to start one and I stopped mine to have extra money every month to pay down our debt. This needs to be rectified soon.

Plans are in place - we are actually getting a personal loan from my parents - low interest. They would have charged no interest but they are paying 5% on what they are loaning us so we are paying that 5%. This is extremely generous of them. We would have made it somehow without this loan but the interest rate is well, way better than our credit cards and the personal loan we have.

A lot of people would not consider borrowing money from parents. I have actually done it twice at a lot smaller sum and paid back every dime with interest on time every month. That is why when I freaked out last month and said the hubs and I didn't want any Christmas or Birthday gifts until further notice they stepped in.

It's a bit humbling taking money from the parents. It makes you feel slightly like you are not managing your life very well. The cool thing about my parents is they didn't do what they normally do - they didn't hassle me about the amount and didn't tell me how to manage my life. They did ask a few questions but they trust us.

We have a five year agreement with them and I plan to pay it back in three.

Monday, July 20, 2009


My garbage disposal smells like a bar on some Caribbean island. No, I did not have a party. I have been decluttering. Before you decide the paisley penguin is a lush, let me explain.

We have this dresser in our dining room we use as a bar. The bottom cabinet had various half or mostly empty bottles of liqueur in it. When it comes to hard liqueur the hubs and I tend to stick to drinks made from vodka and rum. We had a bunch of fruity smelling alcohol that I know we are never going to use so we dumped it down the sink. My dad also has it in his head that I like Grand Marnier - nope. One large and three airline size bottles gone. We have probably emptied half of the dresser from various shot glasses, coasters and other paraphernalia. Eventually we will get rid of the dresser, once we have another place for the contents.

I am getting rid of these cool glasses that I just had to have and rarely ever use. Our last name doesn't start with O either (I apologize for the picture quality). The rim and the O is sliver - love.

I bought these glasses and tray at an antique mall. Probably paid way too much for them. We don't use them much either.

In my journey to be ruthless I have been decluttering like a mad woman, posting on craigslist and donating a TON. We have posted an elliptical machine, train stuff and the antique bed and dresser I had when I met the hubs. It was my aunts and although sturdy needs some cosmetic TLC which I am not going to have the time to complete. I debated turning the curved footboard in to the back of a cool couch but decided in the end to sell it. Plus, the bed is a full size - way too small for the hubs and I.

I love this dresser and will be sorry to see it go. I hope it goes to a good home.

All of this decluttering and donating and Craigslist posting I hope will not only open up my house but open up the possibility for the hubs and I to get this brown leather couch for our living room and this bed frame and headboard/storage unit for our bedroom.

I am on a roll. Tomorrow I am posting a serger that was free to me and I have never used because I never got it fixed.

One frustrating thing about all of this is the stuff sits around my house until its gone or I get rid of it. I have had interest from two parties in my elliptical machine. I have not heard from these people since I replied with my phone number. So frustrating when they sound REALLY interested and then don't follow through.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

IKEA - best place for people on a budget

The hubs and I started our day decluttering the house a little. We dropped off our donations on the way to our local IKEA.

The people who built our condo decided that, to save money, they would not install overhead lighting in all of the rooms. The bedrooms, and living room - where we spend most of our time - do not have over head lighting. The bedrooms have outlets hardwired to light switches conveniently located near the bedroom doors.

We bought this light fixture today on our trip to IKEA. It gives off a lot of soft white light in our bedroom. We think we will get one for the kids room and something similar for our living room. The price was right too.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Camping at Baker Lake

We returned Monday from our four day camping trip to Baker Lake Resorts. Unfortunately this will be our last year camping here due to them shutting down next summer to increase the day use area. This happens to be where we camp every summer. It opens up an opportunity to find a new favorite place to camp. Below is the view from our site on to the lake.

The kids managed to meet some other kids their own age and we pretty much didn't see them most of the weekend. One of the girls they met gave our friends son a mow hawk (my SS is behind him).

They managed to get some volleyball in although I don't think the net (or ball) was regulation height and size. My SS managed to play in his hot pink skinny jeans. Our friends son (wearing my SD's green jeans) played as well. Apparently the new thing is for teenagers to trade clothes - doesn't matter the sex of the person they came from or not.

Others chose to chillax (yes a new teenage word) in the sun. I believe the 80's are coming back in to style. My SS is on the right.

There was fire...

and Vodka (this represents a small fraction of the portable bar).....

and dogs....

and little people in babushkas...

and babies.....

and the Triple Threat (friends SS, my SD and friends daughter)...

We had great weather until Sunday. We woke to an overcast sky and a cooler day. We had thunderstorms with a light smattering of rain throughout the day. Then it dumped on us that night. Not to fear with the blue tarp the size of an airstream trailer over our site. We were nice and toasty dry. All of our tents were under the trees so none of us got wet while we were asleep.

I actually attempted to make bacon and chocolate chip pancakes the first morning.

The kids did A LOT of swimming and hanging out with their new friends (they have been texting with them ever since). Below, my SS rockin the over sized sunglasses and our friends son with his mow hawk.

There was cliff jumping which I did not endorse but did get photographic evidence of.

In the mornings there was a mist that hung over the trees.

Lots of moss covered branches too. Someone mentioned they looked like velvety moose antlers.

All in all it was a great weekend. I stopped counting mosquito bites at 25. They don't itch too bad. Oh yeah, the morning we were packing to leave the hubs lost his balance and accidentally tossed something through the back window of our car.

My friend had an extra vinyl shower curtain in her airstream that we were able to cut and duct tape in the window area. It actually worked pretty great - not a lot of highway noise with this. I highly recommend this type of patch. My insurance company works with a mobile window replacement company that came to my office yesterday and fixed the window. Thank goodness - I didn't want to invite people to break in to my car.

But before I went camping - I had my hair chopped off. I look mad in this photo but I was concentrating on taking a photo of myself.

July is halfway over!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Camping We Will Go...

I have been furiously decluttering this week and will update about that upon my return from the wilds of northern Washington state. You know, with the bugs and stuff. In honor of our upcoming wilderness vacation I give you a treatise on camping. Enjoy!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Decluttering Continues

I have the habit of tearing pages from magazines and stacking them in nice little (until they fall over) stacks of clothing, decorating, craft, party ideas and recipes. My stacks have become impossibly tall and they are clutter. I have attempted to organize them many times. I went through a few stacks tonight and took photos of the ideas I want to keep and uploaded them to my computer. I put them in a folder marked ORGANIZE for when I am decluttering my computer.

At least its physically in the garbage - baby steps people.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cool Junk

I have been a fan of Junkmarket and Junk Revolution for a while now. I love the idea of taking old junk and repurposing it in to new things. It's a creative way to recycle and I dare say my mom has been doing this for years (strawberries in an old bathtub behind the garage anyone?). The mantra for Junk Revolution really says it all...Rescue / Reuse / Reimagine / Inspire.

I have the house to myself today and decided I would look for cool ideas to spiff up my house junk style. I am a pretty creative person but sometimes I have a hard time seeing what could be when I look at junk.

Here are some inspirations for you all. The next time you are thinking of throwing something out - maybe you can reuse it in a new and clever way?

My bathroom may or may not be big enough for this towel valet idea but I will file it away for future use. You can find the entire post about this rusty makeover here.

Now, who would ever think that an old hot water bottle could turn out so darn cute! I don't know this would have sprung to mind if I had seen it at the thrift store in its "natural" state.

As a film buff I think this little side table is so very awesome! It has an industrial look to it with the glass top and you could make it movable by adding casters to the legs.

I have a wall in my dining room that would be perfect for this dresser turned bar. I even have a dresser I can use. Its currently serving as a bar but it is not so easy to access bottles, glassware and such. I believe there is some cosmetic surgery in that dressers near future.

Sometimes all it takes to reuse something is to turn it over. This old table was flipped over and turned in to a cat bed. Her highness is sure to be pleased with her royal new crash pad.

I made this bed for my dog from an old suitcase my grandma had. I love old suitcases and this get's used daily. My dog LOVES it! The legs are croquet mallets with an old belt wrapped around it . He's shy and doesn't like his photo taken for some reason.

Snazzing up an night light with an old cookie cutter.

For more junk ideas I check out the junk camp blog and the JunkMarket Style website.

The original owners of Junkmarket, Sue Whitney (who still owns it) and Ki Nassauer (now owner of Junk Revolution and the author of the Junk Camp blog - Ki is on Facebook too) have written a couple books I highly recommend to get your creative juices flowing. Can you imagine entire rooms decorated with junk to fit any personal style? Check out Junk Beautiful and Decorating JunkMarket Style.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independance Day

Have a happy and safe 4th!

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Month

I posted an updated budget last Sunday and I need to update a few numbers here as well as my goals for the month of July.

Coffee - $73.85 ($61.79 less than last month)
Groceries - $298 ($102 less than last month)
Savings - $310 ($285 more than last month)

This months budget is a little in the air. My parents have decided to give the hubs and I a loan. We have not figured out all the details yet. No interest vs the low interest I proposed due to the amount we are borrowing. They are in limbo waiting for some money to come to them which in turn means we are in limbo.

Income - $4974.66 (the hubs get's paid three times this month)
Bills - $2032.43
Debt Payments - $1500
Groceries - $300 (increase due to camping trip and five weeks in the month)
Gas - $210 (increase due to camping trip and five weeks in the month)
Save - $500
Left over - $432.23

So, I may have to make the minimum payments on two credit cards before we see the loan. The debt payments will be roughly the same amount depending on if we make our first payment to my parents this month or not.

The cool thing about the loan is the low or no interest rate and we will pretty much wipe out all of our credit card balances and our personal loan balance. The only reportable debt we will have is our mortgage, our car loan and the hubs student loan. That means we can refinance our condo sooner rather than later and get out from under our interest only loan and we might even get a better interest rate.

I have some decluttering and gardening to do this long holiday weekend. The weather is wonderful!